Despite Injury, Ben Flanagan is set and happy to return to the Falmouth Road Race
History was made in Falmouth when Flanagan ran a nearly perfect strategic race and shocked the field to capture the Falmouth Road Race. Unfortunately there will be no repeat of that smile crossing the finish line in the Falmouth Heights. The affable University of Michigan grad, who is now running professionally for Team Reebok, will not get the chance to defend his title.
A stress injury to Flanagan’s leg has knocked him to the sideline for this year’s race. He recently was informed by his medical team that he would be unable to run for six weeks. After that will come rehabilitation, which potentially could knock out most, if not all, of the remaining competitive racing for him this year.
“It’s an unfortunate thing. I was really looking forward to coming back and racing Falmouth again,” he said. “I’m excited to still be able to be here and be involved, but it would have been nice to be on the line again.”
The best-case scenario is that Flanagan could be back racing by late in the fall. That would be all of the major events for 2019, but he is setting his sights squarely on 2020.
As the 2018 Falmouth champ works his way back toward being healthy and fast, his aim is to peak in time for the 2020 Canadian Olympic trials. If he qualifies for a spot in the Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo, that would be at the top of his priority list for next year.
“That would just be amazing. That’s a thing I’ve wanted to be a part of since I was nine years old, since I first started doing sports,” he said. “It’s been such a long journey... it’s really just so special. It would be a dream come true.”
As for this year, Flanagan will be involved in the presentation of Road Race weekend. He spoke to a group of youngsters on behalf of the FRR yesterday,, August 15, then today Friday, August 16, Flanagan is set to speak at the annual press conference in the morning before handing out bibs and numbers at the Road Race Expo later in the day. Tomorrow On Saturday he will be part of the Champions meet-and-greet at the Expo and also plans to be at the Mile Races at Falmouth High School later in the day. He will attend the Road Race on Sunday, but was unsure of where he’d be.
Flanagan said he was excited to help in any capacity. He has become very fond of Falmouth, and not just because his win helped launch his professional career.
He also met his girlfriend here. Because he hails from the University of Michigan, Flanagan stayed with the Ghelfi family last year. Hannah Ghelfi is a rising senior at the U of M, where she is one of the top golfers for the Wolverines. With their school in common, the pair hit it off and began to see one another during the fall semester. Ben graduated in December and moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, to train professionally. He was in Falmouth around Christmastime, and said that he plans on being in Falmouth, or at Michigan, whenever he can.
“It’s just funny that Hannah and I spent a number of years together at Michigan and never met until the race,” he said.
He said that he has become more and more familiar with the town through his visits, and has come to really enjoy being on Cape Cod. With his prime racing years still ahead of him, there’s every reason to believe that Flanagan and Falmouth could go together hand-in-hand. It’s a budding relationship that got off to a fantastic start. The future looks bright.
posted Friday August 16th
by Rich Maclone